Deepening and expanding the impact of D&I at Microsoft

by Marc Walters and Bruce Jackson

l to r:  Marc Walters, Corporate Vice President and Deputy General Counsel at Microsoft and Bruce Jackson, Associate General Counsel & Managing Director for Strategic Partnerships at Microsoft

Microsoft’s mission-to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more-is deeply inclusive. Through the years, our diversity and inclusion (D&I) work has evolved to drive organizational priorities and address rising societal challenges. We are committed to fostering an inclusive culture and convening talent that mirrors the diversity of our customers. We work to address social injustice and ensure equal access to opportunity throughout our communities.

Our Corporate, External, and Legal Affairs (CELA) department is uniquely positioned, as (i) part of a legal industry deemed slower than other industries to transform D&I, and (ii) stewards of justice and law, to activate on Microsoft’s mission and drive impact with intentionality. And, with steady investment over the past several years, we have made progress both internally and externally.

Our talent. We actively seek to increase our workforce diversity through directed talent acquisition initiatives, strategic pipeline work, and investment in people. We partner with global recruiting to improve experiences that expand our reach by encouraging students of historically under-represented backgrounds to pursue careers in law with a technology focus. For example, we: partner with the Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA) to offer the annual Intellectual Property Law Institute IP law immersion program; offer scholarships and internships through the Minority Corporate Counsel Association (MCCA), the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD) 1L Scholars program, and the Gregoire Fellows Program; partner with Historically Black Colleges and Universities to host Law and Technology Summits; and engage at legal conferences, such as the HNBA, National Bar Association, Corporate Counsel Women of Color, and the National Asian and Pacific American Bar Association.

We focus on our CELA employees’ career development. For example, we: sponsor high-performing individuals with LCLD’s
Fellows Program and Pathfinders program and provide valuable resources-with a D&I lens-to train and coach our top talent towards the highest leadership levels.

We unlock D&I through monthly D&I “Unplugged” events, a robust D&I Speaker Series, and an annual CELA D&I Leadership Summit. Each of these events brings to life concepts such as intersectionality, code switching, covering and allyship, through internal/external speakers and deep community engagement.

Still, we know that to sustain the gains of diversity, we must foster a culture of inclusion. Regardless of role, title, or discipline, every Microsoft employee is expected to actively create a diverse and inclusive culture. In CELA, we double down on investments that advance our cultural competency, inclusion acumen, and psychological safety. We connect through our internal employee networks, supporting members, networking, and creating spaces for authentic conversations. Our CELA leaders serve as strategic advisors and diligent visionaries to make D&I a comprehensive engagement for all.

Our communities. We recognize that issues around inequality and the criminal justice system pose fundamental societal questions about bias, fairness, and equity. Microsoft and CELA leaders have acted on our commitments to racial equity and justice reform, yielding meaningful progress to date. Through strategic and important financial, technological, and intellectual investments, we are actively strengthening our communities and deepening our D&I impact. And, we have leveraged technology, expertise, and critical partnerships to affect policing, alternatives to incarceration, and prosecutorial reforms.

Ultimately, we want our employees and the communities we serve to feel authentically themselves, and believe they are heard and valued as we share in this human experience together. Our work is far from over, but we embrace the journey ahead.

■ For more on our work and progress in D&I see:

Microsoft Global Diversity & Inclusion Report 2021.

■ For more on our commitment to racial equity see:

Racial Equity Initiative.

■ For more on our commitment to addressing social injustice see:

Microsoft Justice Reform Initiative

0 comment

You may also like